Thursday, March 5, 2015

#SOL15 Day 5 :: March 5, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!

Lions and Tigers

Four-year olds are masterful negotiators.

I don't want to go to bed. 

I'm not hungry.

Why do I have to?

How come Audrey doesn't have to finish her dinner?

I'm not tired. 

How come we have to go to the store? 

No, I don't want to.

How many more bites do I have to eat?

I'm don't want to brush my teeth. 

I'm tired.

I don't want to wake up. 


This is my Lily. We call her Tiger Lily sometimes because she was born in the year of the Tiger. Well, Little Miss Tiger Lily is a queen of negotiating, especially to get out of things she doesn't want to do.

Lately, everything seems to be a negotiation with this preschooler of ours. 

Dinnertime is a daily battle. If it were up to her, she would drink her calories in milk and not have to eat anything because it interferes with her playtime. However, when we finally clean the table and everything, she wants a snack. 

Bedtime is an game each night of how many excuses can she come up with to not to go sleep. She needs to go the bathroom. She wants a hug. The blanket isn't folded right. She needs water. The heater isn't on. She can't find Flounder (her stuffed animal). Daddy didn't give her a hug and kiss. She needs help to put lotion on her eczema. The door is closed too tightly. She's out of water again. She wants another hug and kiss. And the list goes on and on and on... 

Basically, the only downside of her becoming more verbal is that she uses those words... to complain, to whine, to talk back and negotiate EVERYTHING. 

Sometimes when we catch her in a lie, I think she really believes that she didn't do anything wrong too. Like she isn't CURRENTLY in the act of doing whatever she's being accused of, so therefore she must not have done it. Maybe it's just how the 4-year old mind works.

Lily, did you take the toy from your sister?


Lily, Daddy saw you take the toy from Audrey.

No, I didn't. 

Lily, there's no lying in this house.

Daddy, there's no LIONS in this house! Silly Daddy! 

I mean, how can you not laugh at that. It's pretty much impossible to keep a straight face when she comes back with lines like that.

Yes, Lily. There's no lions in this house, but we sure love our little tiger.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Workspace Wednesday :: 17

Washi tape storage 

I have moved my stash of washi around in several different kinds of containers for over a year now. I tried a tub, then a drawer, but I think this wire basket I picked up from the Target One Spot is currently working the best for me right now.

I keep my skinny washi tape in an open dish (you can see it to the side of the basket) because I know it will get lost in a basket. Especially the really skinny ones from Amy Tangerine. 

One of the things I like about an open basket is that I can pretty much see all of my collection at once. It makes it easier to choose one that I want to use because I can look at it from all different angles. When it was in a drawer, I could only see the top layer and everything underneath was hard to see without pulling them out. With an open basket, even when my collection grows (because let's just get real, right?) I can still see what's underneath or even in the bottom layer because I can pick it up. 

I am definitely one of those people that need to see things in order to remember that they exist. Hopefully this basket will make it easier for me to use what I already have in my washi stash. 

In other news, I think I need more washi tape. :) 

How do you store your washi tape? 

If you would like to participate in the Workspace Wednesday posts, 
follow the #workspacewednesday hashtag on Instagram. 

Marcy Penner is also leading a group of crafty WW posts at #hfworkspacewednesday.

You can follow me on Instagram at @jasminemarie

#SOL15 Day 4 :: March 4, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!

March Book Madness

"I wonder if Death by Toilet Paper talks about if its 1-ply or 2-ply?"

"I can't choose between Wonder and Ella Enchanted. It's too hard! They're both SO good!"

"What's Smile about?"
"It's about a girl who gets braces and then goes through all these things, middle school... "

"Is it okay if I do some more research on Goodreads tonight before I finalize my bracket?"

"You've never read Holes?!"

"Ashlie is reading Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere right now. You should ask her about what she thinks of the book so far. It sounds really good."

"Are you kidding me?! Harry Potter is so much better than The Lightning Thief. It's like a classic." 

"I have Sisters up against Smile in the championship."
"Those are from the same author. You can't have the same author in the finals."
"It doesn't matter if the author is the same. It's about the books!"

The madness has started! 

My students (2 classes of 31 students) started filling in their brackets today for March Book Madness. Kids were buzzing about books from the moment we were putting up the bracket on the wall before school and all throughout the day, even into the minutes after school. 

When I read about March Book Madness on The Nerdy Book Club, I knew that I had to do it with my students. A fun, exciting, semi-competitive event for my kids ALL ABOUT BOOKS?! I was sold. It looked like the perfect way to get kids exciting about reading and about books that they might not have read before. 

All of a sudden kids are engaging in authentic book talks and trying to recruit others to root for the books that they want to win. They are asking about books that they have never heard of before and wondering if we can order them in the next Scholastic book order to get it in time before the next round of voting. All of a sudden, kids who are the only one in the class to have read a certain book have become superstars because other kids are asking them what they thought about it before filling in their bracket. 

Even other teachers have gotten in on the action as well! 

All of the books I could find in our classroom library from the bracket BEFORE they flew off the board. I couldn't even keep them up long enough to book talk them while go over the bracket first thing this morning! 

My grade-level team departmentalized this year and for the first time in my whole career, I'm not teaching reading. I'm teaching math and science (which actually are my strengths as a teacher). It was super hard for me to give up reading. And by super hard, I mean I was gripping it so tightly in my hands that you practically had to pry it out. No exaggeration. 

So much of the reason why I became a teacher is because I love sharing my love of reading with my kids. I was a bookworm and devoured books when I was a kid. I couldn't get my hands on enough books to read. My mom would take me to the library and I would check out the maximum 13 books (I still remember the number to the this day!). They would be finished within days and I'd be begging to go back. 

I am not really an athletic, sporty person, so my buy-in with kids is definitely not sports. I actually really loathe doing anything physical in front of my kids because I am so awkwardly uncoordinated. I am not the best actor, singer, theatrical-kind of teacher. I am not the funniest, most popular, or outgoing teacher. However, each year, I connect with my students over books. It's what I've built my relationships with my students on every year. At the end of each year, the kids grow up and move on, but a few always come back to visit me, borrow books and talk about what they've been reading with me. Just call me "The Book Whisperer" of my school. 

So as you can see, giving up reading this year was especially hard because I was worried that I would lose my "thing" with the kids. I worried that if I wasn't their reading teacher that I would have a harder time finding an "in" with my kids. Luckily for me, I've realized that I don't have to be their "reading teacher" to talk about reading with my kids in other ways. 

March Book Madness really touched a special place in my heart today because my kids are talking about books. REALLY talking about them. They are EXCITED about reading. You can practically see it buzzing in the air! I can't wait to see the madness grow as they vote and see who wins each week.

I can hear kids talking outside my door as they pass the bracket. What they don't know is I can hear them. Gushing about books they love and asking about books they don't know. Sweet whispers through my walls that make me smile. 

After school today, I had a group of my students from last year come after school to ask me what my bracket thing was all about and then they stayed for about 10 minutes to fill out their own brackets before they went home. My door was open and I was grading papers inside. 

"I heard Bridge to Terabithia is good, but I don't think it's going to hold out against Harry Potter."
"Yeah, Harry Potter is going to be hard to beat."

My reading teacher heart is full because I know this moment will be hard to beat.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

#SOL15 Day 3 :: March 3, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!

I was at a writing training recently where we talked about Slice of Life and we wrote one after viewing a photo. Here is a fictional piece that I wrote that day: 

The Mayor's Wife

My red dress is freshly-pressed, hanging on my full-length mirror. The curls in my hair sit tightly at the back of my neck. Shiny and lacquered red, my fingernails hide the beads of sweat tucked into my fisted palms. The ridiculously high heels sit on the floor, not quite broken in yet, but just new enough to blister up my feet today. I have retouched my make-up about three times and without realizing it, I find myself pacing now. On the outside, when I see my reflection, I think to myself that I look the part. Almost sophisticated enough to be the First Lady of a grand cosmopolitan city, with no resemblance to the small-town girl I grew up as. But on the inside, my stomach is twisted up in knots.

He, on the other hand, looks as peaceful as can be. Like this is not the day that he is going to be presented to the whole city as mayor for the first time, after miraculously winning what was supposed to be a one-man show at the election. For the other guy.

He sits in his armchair, hidden behind his newspaper, coffee mug in hand, with his feet swinging rhythmically in the air to the jazz music playing in the background. His morning routine. A daily ritual to center himself for the day. This morning is no different to him. It is just another day in what used to be our ordinary lives. 

It's not easy being the mayor's wife. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

#SOL15 Day 2 :: March 2, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!

Last week in numbers

1 Mommy
1 Daddy
1 Preschooler
1 Toddler
Family of 4

1 unexpected phone call at work
1 stomach bug
1 toddler sick
6+ diarrhea diapers in 1 day 
0 fever
2 1/2 hour nap
1 throw up
1 tired Mommy
2 Grandparents come to rescue 
Healthy household members: 5 out of 6

1 unexpected phone call
1 preschooler sick
1 throw up
1 Mommy sick
2 fevers
102 degrees
2 tummy aches
1 long day
Healthy household members: 3 out of 6

Used up 4 sick days in the last 2 weeks for sick babies and now sick Mommy
1 stressed out Mommy
3+ hour morning nap
2 helpful Grandparents
1 Daddy still healthy.
0 new people sick today. 
1 hopeful Mommy

1 sick Grandma
1 Mommy back to work
2 kids still at home
1 Grandpa taking care of them
1 lingering fever in preschooler
101 degrees
Healthy household members: 2 out of 6

1 sick Grandpa
2 kids still at home
1 lingering fever in preschooler
99 degrees
1 late-night visit to urgent care 
0 prescriptions to make it all better
Healthy household members: 1 out of 6

2 Grandparents return home to Los Angeles, 2+ hours away
4 people in the house
3 on the mend
1 optimistic Mommy
Movie Night with preschooler: Big Hero 6

1 Daddy sick

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